UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta has been getting out in front of the camera more than ever recently and that’s a very good thing indeed as he speaks well and is one of the most powerful men in the sport.
Below you’ll find a new video featuring Ferttita in discussion with MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani in Rio as he gears up for Saturday night’s event. Check out keynotes below and scroll down to watch the interview for yourselves.
– Fertitta confirms that they have been in discussion about a potential event in the Brazilian city of Manaus next year with the possibility of filling a 100,000 seater stadium being considered.
– He explains that one of the main reasons they haven’t come back to Brazil earlier is that they like to have a strong TV deal in place first to help build their presence in a new region like this. They’ve now been on free-to-air TV for two years here so the time was right.
– The UFC CEO predicts between 20-30 million Brazilian’s will tune in for Saturday’s event.
– He also estimates the economic impact to the region could reach as much as $40-50 million+
– Like everyone else Fertitta is bowled over by Anderson Silva’s sudden meteoric rise to fame in his native Brazil since his win over Vitor Belfort. According to him Silva can’t even leave his house anymore without getting mobbed by fans and describes it as “changing his life permanently.”
– The mainstream media in Brazil are apprently not yet all that clued up about the sport, but Fertitta points to the fact that the fans have now embraced it as the major reason why they are now covering the sport.
– While nothing is set in stone at this stage Fertitta believes there could be four fights in Brazil in 2012 – two big events and two or perhaps three ‘fight nights.’
– Moving briefly to the plight of the UK fans who may be a little miffed to hear that Brazil is getting four events while they have been overlooked recently, Fertitta states that part of the problem is that they’ve had “problems getting a TV deal that makes sense” in the UK and so they’ve had to move their business around elsewhere. He does add however that they are not in any abandoning the UK fans and will have a show there in November.
– Fertitta stops short of confirming Anderson Silva as a potential headliner on the UFC on FOX show in November, saying he has to beat Okami before it can even be considered.
He also adds that the rumored Ben Henderson Vs Clay Guida fight wasn’t on their list of potential fights for the show, but it is one that’s worth considering.
He does however guarantee that it will be a big event.
– Finally, Fertitta says that with only two fights airing live on the FOX show in November the rest of the card will air online (most likely via Facebook).